Chicago’s Mayor is inviting potential casino developers in the city to learn how they intend to operate a mega-casino if chosen to do so.
Yesterday, city officials issued a formal request-for-information, which comes as the first step in what is expected to be an extensive process of consideration, approval, development and operation of the planned big-city gambling house in Chicago. The request-for-information is a non-binding phase for the local officials, but it has to be held so that the process of consideration begins. The establishment of a new casino is set to bring a new revenue stream that is expected to be used for boosting police and firefighter pension funds.
Mayor Lightfoot said in a statement that bringing a casino to the city would bring hundreds of millions in new gaming revenues, with the project not only creating many new jobs for local residents but also generate fresh infrastructure funding in the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago. According to her, it is now the right time to have discussions regarding the casino in order to lay the foundation of what could be a strong recovery from the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
Chicago’s Mayor also wants to see developers answer one of the biggest questions associated with the project – which location would they choose to build the casino. Ms. Lightfoot herself has only said that, in her opinion, the casino should be part of a large entertainment district but she has made no further comments on the matter.
Five Casino Locations Previously Proposed by Mayor Lightfoot’s Office
A year ago, the office of Mayor Lightfoot offered five South- and West-side sites that could host the planned casino, although she highlighted that the list is not definitive and the venue could be constructed elsewhere. The five locations had to be evaluated by a state-mandated consultant.
Despite the list with the possible locations for the new mega-casino in Chicago, developers could propose a totally different site, the city’s deputy mayor for economic and neighborhood development, Samir Mayekar, shared.
Initially, Governor J.B. Pritzker backed the South-side or the West-side of the city as the most appropriate site to host the casino, saying that it would help the region’s development. However, according to industry analysts, that would be the least profitable choice, so experts insisted on the establishment of a casino venue in the downtown area to make the facility more accessible to tourists.
According to the consultant hired to evaluate the project, a casino located in the central area of the city that is near high-quality hotels and some major tourist landmarks could generate up to $1.2 billion on an annual basis.
Chicago’s Mayor has promised to make the consideration process transparent enough so that the community is also engaged with the issue. Ms. Lightfoot has also pledged that a series of public meetings are to be held to better check the opinions of the local residents on the location.